Day #8 Adelaide Road Trip

Adelaide Central Market

Okay, so I’ve made a bit of a quantum leap from day #2 to day #8! Hey it’s hard keeping up when there is so much or so little going on, suffice it so say we are in Adelaide. There was one activity high on our list of things to do in Adelaide and that was a tour of the Adelaide Central Market.

Mark Gleeson our market tour guide

The 140 year old Adelaide Central Market, is located in the heart of the Central Business District and some say it is the epicenter of Food, Culture and Lifestyle in South Australia. It is the largest fresh produce market in the Southern Hemisphere, with over 80 specialist Stalls and the most visited tourist destination in South Australia with over 1.3 million visitors per month.

The Market began in Grote Street in 1869 and was known as the City Markets, with its official opening on 22 January 1870. Today the Central Markets are surrounded by the Central Market Arcade, Adelaide China Town, and Market Plaza. The 'centre' of the Central Markets is made up primarily of fresh produce stalls, with the perimeter and arcade shops being mainly cafés, restaurants, and variety stores.

We pre-booked a market tour with Mark Gleeson (Central Market starting with a breakfast at 8:30am. Just a note if you are thinking of doing the tour forgo the breakfast as there are so many samples of food and drink offered to you breakfast isn’t necessary.

Stall S66 "Providore"

We met Mark in front of his market stall, he’s only recently rebuilt it so there are no signs but you can download a map from the website. After introductions he took us to a cafe called Tbar where we ordered breakfast and coffee.

Looking back at one of the market lanes from Tbar.

It was such a beautiful morning we decided to sit outside and take in the morning sun. I think Mark’s a pretty busy guy and he disappeared for a while while we had breakfast popping back to make sure we were okay. Today there were two guides on duty so Mark offered to take just Kelly and myself for a personalised tour!

We started the tour at about 9:15 with Mark started by giving us an overview of the market and his role in it. He’s been involved in it from both a stall owner and activist, for 20 years and he’s passionate about the role the market has to play in Adelaide culture. Mark seems determined to do whatever he can to maintain those aspects of the market that give it it’s unique character while others try to homogenise it. I certainly hope he succeeds as it need friends like Mark.

The next hour and a half was a whirlwind of colour, tastes and anecdotes as we travelled up and down the market lanes meeting various stallholders, sampling their wares and finding out a little of their background and history in the market. The following is an introduction to the market stallholders we met and their amazing food we sampled.

Stefan - Stall 72 “Central Organic”

Mario - Stall 56 “Greenside Greengrocer”

Mario is one of long time stall holders at the market having been there for over 30 years and in fact I think he is the tenant who’s been here the longest time. He not only sells produce but produces it himself on his farm in Cuddly Creek. Mario gave us some lovely plums that we are still enjoying.

Stefan, who’s stall is directly opposite Mario’s, is another long time stall holder, and second only to Mario, who sells certified organic produce. Stefan showed us his detailed manifest of produce that he is required to produce and show produce for if questioned by inspectors.

Valdec - Stall 75 “Seven Hill Fine Food”

Valdec came to Australia from Poland, as a political refugee, 27 years ago. His stall is a veritable treasure house of imported foods and local produced small goods.

Valdec's rriendly staff serving customers between shelves piled high with exotic looking goods

An array of small goods hanging in Valdec's stall

Tony O’Connell - Stall GR 47-49 "O’Connell Meat"

Tony was super busy but he took a moment to show us some of his produce including this beautiful ham.

Sun Mi - Stall S1 “Sunmi’s Sushi”

Sun Mi is the Mother of Korean Food in Adelaide. This ex Olympic sportswoman, she played volleyball for South Korea, has been in the market for 15 years. She treated us to one of her famous vegetarian pancakes with a magic sauce that is to die for.

Next on our tour was Cafe Zedz run by Franjo Novosel, market stall owner and painter.

Neon Sign - Stall S2 "Cafe Zedz"

There is a great feeling of energy around the cafe and Franjo made us up a couple of fresh juices and some sample delicacies. We had a chat, I showed him some of my panoramas and he told me that his website, showing his work, is a 360 virtual tour as well. You can check it out at (flash required).

Franjo and Mark checking out my panoramas on the iPad

From the cafe we wandered down to a favourite of mine called “Smelly Cheese”. It’s the companion stall to “Say Cheese” at S46.

Part of the cheese selection - Stall S44 "Smelly Cheese"

What a fantastic array of smelly cheese. We purchased a prosciutto wrapped cheese called “Otto” (you can see it in the top left corner of the picture) that you cook before eating. The prosciutto becomes all crispy while the cheese within melts.

Linda with samples of the goats cheese, not smelly at all

Directly behind Smelly Cheese is Dough where appropriately they bake bread. Here we met Linda’s daughter who was dusting lemon curd tarts with icing sugar.

Stall S45 "Dough" and Linda’s daughter dusting the tarts

Almost to the end of the tour now and we are at Marino Meats. Ricardo was busy preparing an order so we didn’t disturb him but Mark assures us that they are the best Italian butcher in town.

Ricardo hard at work - Stall GO52-54 "Marino Meats"

On the counter is a huge Prosciutto leg proudly displaying a gold medal from the Australian Meat Industry Council for the 2010 SA Smallgoods Competition. It is the winners award for the Dry Cured Products Category.

The Prosciutto Leg

At the end of our tour we were full of wonderful food, with an appreciation for the work these and all the stallholders put into making the market work. We are planning a return trip on Saturday morning early, to stock up on provisions for Christmas Day and to sample Franjo's breakfast special Shak Shuka.